Don’t Let Go review – tricksy time-warp murder mystery | Film

The immense silliness of this high-concept, time-shift cop thriller about a detective solving a murder case with help from the victim phoning from two weeks before her death makes it virtually impossible to take seriously. Even with an intelligent, credible performance by David Oyelowo, the daftness and utter implausibility of a smartphone so smart it can make calls to the future is overwhelming.

The opening 15 minutes are entertaining enough: this is the bit before the time-travel tricksiness. Don’t Let Go is set in LA, where detective Jack Radcliff (Oyelowo), a good cop and solid dependable guy, keeps an eye on his teenage niece Ashley (beautifully played by Storm Reid) whose dad is struggling with addiction. One day, Jack gets a panicky call from Ashley, and, rushing over to her house, walks into a crime scene in which everyone is dead. Days later, paralysed by grief, he gets a call from Ashley. She sounds cheery and very much undead.

Jack deduces that she is speaking to him from another time period – two weeks before her murder. Director and co-writer Jacob Estes explains nothing. Has there been some freaky fold in the fabric of time? Is the psychic bond between uncle and niece so strong that not even death can break it?

There are some nice Groundhog Day moments as Jack recruits Ashley to help investigate the murders that, in her timeframe, have yet to happen. He begins to alter events in the past, leading to a clammy sense of chaos and time unravelling. But in this end, this contrived concept doesn’t remotely come off. It’s so barmy you half expect Jack to wake up and realise it’s all been a dream, or to be carted off for psychiatric care. There’s not much excitement here, and the whodunnit, when it comes, feels pretty irrelevant.

Don’t Let Go is released in the UK on 27 September.

Source: The Guardian

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